What’s Up Wednesday 12/26/18

Roman – An Online Physician for Men’s Health

Roman is an online startup, founded in 2017, that originated as a place where men could discretely address specific health needs in the privacy of their own homes with an internet connection.  Roman has its own physicians and these physicians are capable of addressing a predefined set of men’s health concerns.  Specific health issues addressed by the website are erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, hair loss, cold sores, genital herpes, smoking cessation, and enlarged prostate symptoms – in other words, Roman is initially targeting health concerns that may not be easy or pleasant to discuss but which are easily addressed with common prescription medicines.

Here’s how the system works.

The user enters the website, creates an account by providing some personal information, and then answers several questions related to the specific health ailment he is interested in having treated.  The information provided will include a personal picture for identification purposes, plus some other relevant information directly related to the issue under discussion.  In the case of hair loss, for example, a few current headshot photos that clearly display the patient’s present state of hair loss must be submitted to the physician.  The pictures in question don’t need to be works of art – they can be taken through the camera on a laptop or acquired via a smartphone selfie – a process that’s quick, easy, and extremely customer friendly.

Once the questionnaire is complete, the final step in the process is a review by the online physician and phone call to the customer to discuss his treatment options.  The call to the customer will come from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state where the customer resides.  Thus, if the customer is in Oregon, the final phone call will be from a physician licensed to practice in Oregon.

A normal consultation through Roman for a single condition (hair loss, erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate, etc) costs the customer $15.00.  If a customer desires for Roman to address a second medical condition, it will require a second (separate) consultation at an additional $15.00 fee.

The prescriptions that Roman’s doctors provide can be filled at its own network of online pharmacies or an electronic prescription can be submitted to a local pharmacy of the customer’s choosing – provided that the pharmacy is a part of the Surescripts network (most pharmacies with a national or regional presence are part of this network).  Therefore, in most cases, customers have the ability to fill their prescriptions at a local pharmacy of choice.

Let’s face it, nobody looks forward to doctor appointments.  It’s one of those tasks that many of us constantly delay and sometimes even totally avoid.  People are especially apprehensive when the subject matter is something – shall we say – uncomfortable to discuss.  This is where Roman (now rebranded Ro) really shines.  The whole process is completely discrete and occurs at the user’s convenience.

The service raised over $90 million in venture funding and has experienced incredible growth in the past year.  It is certainly a hit.  Its popularity reflects that.  This is a startup that should continue to garner headlines in the years to come as it offers more prescription medicines and gains more customers.  It’s not a company that offers something that isn’t available elsewhere in the marketplace.  Instead it’s putting a consumer- friendly spin on an old familiar business.  These entrepreneurs without question saw a need and filled it.

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